What is the best free antivirus for 2020?

Antivirus software is essential if you plan on going online, due to the proliferation of polluted advertising iframes, malware-laden spam and drive-by downloads which may affect even the most legitimate, upstanding and favorite of sites.

Read this total av review and try their latest antivirus software.

These reviews were based on information gathered from the first six months of 2019. Our reviews pull together data in your reputed AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives antivirus and security testing labs to rate the operation of each antivirus program.

They examine the software’s capability to correctly identify malicious documents and websites, shield against drive-by downloads and also prevent false-positive detections, where benign programs are blocked as malicious.

Both labs also assess the consequences of antivirus applications on system performance.

Apart from data from those established testing centers, we examine every antivirus bundle ourselves to learn what it’s like to live together and what features it provides.

We have summarised the best antivirus solutions for many people but please scroll down to see our complete reviews.

Best overall: Kaspersky Free Antivirus 19

Best built-in: Microsoft Windows Defender

Best for configuration: Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Great performance: Avira Free Antivirus 2019

Great comprehensiveness: Avast Free Antivirus

Can it be possible that antivirus software is spying on you?

Last week I got a query from a reader that amazed me. In effect, he asked why antivirus programs could not make the most of the trusted status to steal personal data and spy on you. My immediate gut reaction was: No way! But so as to answer him, I really had to think it through.

This reader’s ideas were as follows: “If I had been a true criminal and had financial resources of something like a foreign enemy to finance me, I could hire the best talent and build a great AV program that’s absolutely free and actually works. Since I’m scanning your system and all of your document files, couldn’t I disconnect a couple of your personal files and send them home to my host? Can I not get through your firewall since I have a legit need to call home so to speak to check for upgrades?”

Well, yes and no.

Rogue antivirus

Rogue antivirus programs do exist, and these days they seem as good as or better than the real thing. In addition, we call them “scareware” since they always pretend to find alarming malware infestations. The scan is free of charge, but naturally, you need to pay if you would like them to “eliminate” what they “found.” Now the bad guys have your cash and your credit card number.

Scareware is a major business. Some of these frauds really have tech support and customer support hotlines. One of my connections at the antivirus industry told me about a client who had been angry when the valid antivirus program quarantined the rogue. “This was my antivirus,” ranted the client, “I paid for it!”

The one difference between these products and the reader’s doomsday scenario, and it is a major difference, is they don’t actually work. They generally scan much faster than valid programs, since they’re not really doing anything. Additionally, the free-scan paid-clean-up version is a small giveaway, as very few legitimate programs follow that model.

Serious scrutiny

Scareware programs exist specifically to generate income. A functioning antivirus program that incorporates malicious features is quite another thing. Luckily, getting away with something like this could be really, really tough.

Independent antivirus testing labs such as Dennis Technology Labs, AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, and many others place antivirus programs under severe scrutiny. Their intention is to quantify how well these products protect against malware, but lots of evaluations would also catch betrayal from within.

Here is an example. 1 indication of a bot infestation is questionable traffic between the bot and its command-and-control server, so you can bet antivirus researchers are watching network traffic tightly. A traitorous antivirus program would trigger the same type of alarms.

Typically, getting an antivirus program tested and certified costs the seller money. That being the case, some sellers of free antivirus solutions do not participate. But a number of doing. If you are truly worried, select a free alternative from a business that does participate in testing. By way of instance, there’s AVG, Avast, Bitdefender Free, and several of gratis lab-vetted alternatives out there.

Doesn’t make fiscal sense

Most vendors provide a range of security products, with free antivirus in the base of the range. They gain when any free user updates to commercial antivirus, or into a security package, or buys some other kind of security product. A broad distribution of free antivirus provides the company with a built-in client base for paid products and ensures that the organization name is widely known. Throwing all this away so as to create some type of spy program would be nuts.

That said, it is still faintly possible that a nation-state could secretly produce some sort of antivirus spy program since the aim isn’t to make money but to steal information. You may think twice before installing a brand new antivirus from an iffy area like North Korea, for instance.

I would not worry about installing a well-known free antivirus, particularly one that is part of a larger product line. It is even better if the seller has existed for decades — Avast Software just celebrated 25 years in business. You’re a whole lot more likely to suffer from the fallout of a data breach than to experience an antivirus that has turned to the dark side.